Mahoning County OKs oil and gas exploration.

By Peter H. Milliken


The Mahoning County commissioners have approved a one-year road-use maintenance agreement to allow Halcon Resources LLC of Houston to perform seismic testing for oil and natural-gas deposits along county and township roads in six townships.

The exploration is to occur in Austintown, Jackson, Milton, Berlin, Ellsworth and Canfield townships. Front Runner Seismic Inc. of Westfield, Pa., will perform the seismic testing for Halcon.

Halcon will pay the county and townships about $600 per mile for occupancy of the roads for the testing, which is the equivalent of an ultrasound of the ground. It will pay the county for the county roads it occupies and the townships for the township roads it occupies.

Under the agreement, Halcon will repair any roads it damages, said Patrick Ginnetti, county engineer.

Halcon is posting a $100,000 bond to the county and a $50,000 bond for each township to cover any road damage, he added.

The trucks used in the testing can weigh up to 30 tons, but the normal vehicle weight limit on county and township roads is 17 tons, Ginnetti said.

Halcon will spend about $500,000 on road improvements in Jackson Township, reconstructing roads there before drilling, Ginnetti said.

“They’ve all been very cooperative so far. They understand that their trucks are going to cause damage, so they’ve been very proactive at fixing the roads and going over and above what we’ve even asked of them,” Ginnetti said of oil and gas industry companies operating here.

NiSource, which is building a natural gas pipeline and processing plant in Springfield Township, has begun a $1.5 million road paving effort in Poland and Springfield townships, Ginnetti said.

“NiSource alone has doubled our entire paving program with just their contribution,” Ginnetti said. The county’s regular paving program this year is just over $1.4 million county-wide.

The commissioners also approved Tuesday a $33,600 contract with State Line Paving LLC of Lowellville to grind, reshape and repave with asphalt about 800 feet of New Road in Jackson Township near a well to be drilled by Halcon on New Road near Lipkey Road.

The commissioners awarded the $1,069,608 Crum Road improvement project in Austintown to Parella-Pannunzio Inc. of Austintown.

The job involves asphalt resurfacing of six tenths of a mile of the road and the widening and conversion from asphalt to concrete pavement of another four tenths of a mile of that road.

The widened area with concrete pavement near Meridian Road will accommodate truck traffic going to businesses near the intersection of Crum and Meridian roads. The project also includes curbing, storm sewer and traffic signal upgrades.

The state-funded project cost was $97,790 below the county engineer’s estimate.

The commissioners also bought a 14-passenger 2013 Ford E350 van from Whitworth Bus Sales Inc. of Miamisburg, Ohio, through the state purchasing cooperative for $48,381. The van will be delivered and repaired by Myers Equipment Corp. of Canfield, said James Fortunato, county purchasing director.

The next commissioners’ meeting will be at 9 a.m. Aug. 29 at the county extension office, 490 S. Broad St., Canfield, in conjunction with the opening of the Canfield Fair.

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